Bassist Este Haim has called out the sexism behind the ‘bass face’ memes that have followed her throughout her career.
Imagine being the bass player in one of the world’s coolest and most successful all-female bands. Pretty nice, right? Now imagine people fixating on what your face looks like while plucking those oh-so-catchy bass notes. Not so nice. In fact, it’s yet another case of sexism in the music industry. Just ask Este Haim, who plays bass in Haim alongside her sisters Danielle and Alana.
Haim has called out the sexism of those ‘bass face’ memes that have circulated the internet since the band released their hit debut album Days Are Gone in 2013.
Speaking in an NME interview, the musician made it clear that she doesn’t think a male bassist would be under the same scrutiny.
Her sister Alana opened the conversation by saying the band is still subjected to everyday sexism.
“People give us backhanded compliments, like, ‘Oh, wow, you can really play,’” she says. “It’s like, ‘What? What the fuck else would I be doing?’”
Este added: “I get, ‘I love that you don’t care what you look like when you play. I love that you don’t care what your face looks like when you play. I love that about you.
“God, thank you SO MUCH”, she adds sarcastically, “Like, fuck you.”
She continued: “That’s like a veiled way of saying you’re ugly or something. They wouldn’t say it to a dude, who’s feeling the music when he’s playing. Like, ‘You look ugly when you play.’ You’d never say it to John Mayer when he’s like ‘bleugh’ when he’s playing, you know what I mean?”
The Haim sisters have previously spoken to Stylist about what it’s like being women in a very male-dominated industry.
“I think that we’re really lucky that we have each other, and I hear that from a lot of our friends who have to do this alone,” shared Danielle.
“We’ve always got each other’s backs. We’re like the Mighty Ducks,” added Este.
Of course, they are not the only band to recently call out sexism.
Watch Haim’s new single Now I’m In It
Taylor Swift flawlessly shut down a sexist interviewer who grilled her about “settling down” earlier this year.
Swift, who turns 30 next month, was asked if she planned on having children anytime soon.
“I really do not think men are asked that question when they turn 30,” she responded, “so I’m not going to answer that.”
Musicians like Haim and Swift shouldn’t have to respond to such things, but they do it in the most perfectly powerful way.